Individuals and government have done much that is praiseworthy in the recovery effort following superstorm Sandy. But what should be done to prevent the next disaster?
People climbed to the upper floors of Manhattan high-rises to check on elderly shut-ins. Down on the streets food shops gave away fresh produce that they could no longer refrigerate. In the suburbs of Long Island and New Jersey homeowners strung power cords from their home generators onto their lawns so that neighbors could plug in and power up.
These individual acts of kindness were far more than random; they were deliberate and selfless – but no less than Americans expect of each other as they rise to the challenge of a crisis.
These last few days have been a time when neighbors who barely knew each other have pooled their food and sat down to meals together. Those with chain saws helped those without clear trees from lawns and driveways. At least one child on Halloween asked for donations to the Red Cross rather than candy.
“I have power and hot water. If anyone needs a shower or to charge some gadgets or just wants to bask in the beauty of artificial light, hit me up,” one resident of the hard-hit New York borough of Staten Island wrote on Facebook.
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